Bonus helping to pay Clemson raises

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney will use some of the money he would have earned as a bonus for winning the 2011 ACC title to increase the salaries of seven of his assistant coaches over the next two years, according to the school.

The Compensation Committee of the Clemson Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a proposal from athletic director Terry Don Phillips to grant salary increases totaling $450,000.

Over 60 percent of that money will be funded by Swinney through a clause in his contract, in which he can reassign money he has earned by winning an ACC title to his assistants. The remaining 40 percent, or $185,000, will be provided by the athletic department.

"Coach Swinney has opted to invest in the stability of the program with money he earned in 2011," Phillips said in a prepared statement. "We have a young football team returning for 2012 and 2013 and he felt it was imperative to have stability from a staff standpoint. These are all options that had been in his existing contract."

In December, Georgia coach Mark Richt unknowingly violated NCAA rules by paying his assistants out of his own pocket. Swinney's case is different because he is using money he has not actually received.

Swinney is expected to make $1.9 million in 2012, which will rank 46th nationally, according to the most recent data available to Phillips. The staff, including Swinney, is expected to rank between 12th and 15th as a whole.

"I am extremely grateful to the Board of Trustees for its approval of these salary increases," Swinney said in a prepared statement. "We have a great staff and I want to do everything I can to keep it together at a critical time in our program.

"We have a young, but talented team and I feel we have a chance to do something very special in the near future."

The school has previously announced that offensive coordinator Chad Morris will earn $1.3 million and defensive coordinator Brent Venables will earn $800,000 during the 2012 season. Clemson's nine full-time assistant coaches will make $4.2 million total.

Heather Dinich writes about ACC football for ESPN.com.